June 30, 2016

Plans to close NJCU writing center anger students, staff

New Jersey City University is shutting down its Writing Center today after a ten-year run.  Back in 2014, administration was considering moving the English Department’s Writing Center and it’s roster of adjunct professors to the central campus Hub.  These professional tutors have been providing advanced level writing tutoring to graduate students and others.  At that time, space issues were an obstacle and no move was taken.

Fast forward to 2016, campus leaders switched gears altogether in order to cut costs and have decided to close down the Writing Center and provide campus-wide tutoring at the central Hub facility.  While the school newspaper reported that no full time staff would lost their jobs, that was not to be the case.  Crossroads of Learning spoke to the office manager and can report that she has been laid off.  All tutoring will now be provided by peer tutors, who are paid $12.00 per hour.  The NJCU adjunct professors were earning $26-$30 an hour for their writing tutoring services.

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Filed under: College,Peer-Tutoring

January 10, 2016

Octogenarian Tutor Brings Warm Encouragement And Grammar Basics To English Lab

by Lorena Umana, The Reporter, originally published January 15, 2016

Tutor Time: Jerry Mitchell, 86, tutors students struggling to learn English at the Kendall Campus. He has served as a tutor at the campus for seven years. Photo by Eli Abasi

Tutor Time: Jerry Mitchell, 86, tutors students struggling to learn English at the Kendall Campus. He has served as a tutor at the campus for seven years. Photo by Eli Abasi

At a time when most people his age are retired, Jerry Mitchell, an 86-year-old English for Academic Purposes Laboratory (EAP) tutor at Kendall Campus, chooses to help students who are struggling to learn English.

“I love tutoring because I get to meet students from all over the world,” Mitchell said. “They keep me thinking young.”

The lab provides English as a Second Language (ESL) students with computers and printers to assist with what they are learning in class. Students may also ask for tutors to assist them with ESL related work and to practice English.  Students come from around the globe including Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

Besides covering the foundations of grammar and vocabulary, Mitchell uses the song Cold Water by Burl Ives to teach his ESL students pronunciation and life philosophy. The song is about a cowboy in the desert with his horse. He sees all kinds of mirages created by the devil. But the horse encourages the cowboy to keep moving.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

May 31, 2015

Academic support for athletes must be better monitored

By Daily Orange Editorial Board, The Daily Orange

Syracuse University needs to better scrutinize its academic support services. The services currently in place, while sufficient, leave room for misconduct in their lack of oversight.

Prior to last week’s NCAA sanctions, the university overhauled the academic support services for student athletes. In 2013, Tommy Powell was hired as assistant provost for student-athlete development, which reports to the provost’s office and is not a part of athletics. Powell oversees all the academic and tutoring services provided to student athletes.

Since this overhaul the number of tutors has doubled to 120, who conduct 800 weekly tutoring sessions with more than 500 student-athletes. But only one tutorial-overseer has been hired. It is impractical to think that this is adequate oversight, especially considering the magnitude of violations recently exposed by the NCAA.

In addition to hiring more managerial positions to monitor the tutors, the university should take special interest in who is selected to tutor star-athletes. Campus tutoring centers hire undergraduate and graduate students who have received a B-plus or higher in the course they tutor and have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

March 5, 2015

Coastal Carolina U. officials hope new tutoring program reduces failure rates

By Charles B. Perry, myrtlebeachonline.com

Professors and students gather informally in the new tutoring program aimed at reducing the failure rates for freshmen in the CINO Grille at Coastal Carolina University last Wednesday. Photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan

Tutoring never appealed much to Jenna Stover or Jennifer Barker. But free Chick-fil-A? That makes it more palatable. “The food is definitely, like, incentive,” Barker said. The sophomores enjoyed their dinner last Wednesday during the final academic coaching session of the semester at Coastal Carolina University’s CINO Grille.

The tutoring is part of a new program aimed at reducing failure rates in humanities classes by encouraging students to dine with their professors in small groups. Coastal officials hope that by chatting with instructors in a casual setting, students will become more engaged, less intimidated and open to seeking out help during the semester.

So far, students seem to be embracing the concept. More than 330 participated this fall. “You don’t feel like you have to hold back,” Stover said of the informal sessions. “You’re in your own element. You’re not really like in the teacher’s element. They’re kind of in yours, so it’s cool.”

That’s exactly the point, said Dan Ennis, Coastal’s vice president for academic outreach. The new tutoring approach is rooted in sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s concept of third places: meeting areas such as coffee houses, restaurants or barber shops. “The idea of a third place is communities are stronger when there are spaces that are neither home nor work for interaction,” Ennis said. “Universities have lots of third spaces, student lounges and things like that, so trying to get the students and faculty in a third place to change the interaction from ‘I’m the professor. This is the material. You’re the student’ meant looking for non-traditional tutoring spaces.”

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

January 21, 2015

Tutors doing more to support athletes

by Eric Spitz, The Valley Vanguard

The Center for Academic Achievement had the opportunity to share its work regarding student-athlete success at the 32nd annual Michigan Tutorial Association’s Connections Conference. The conference hosted 122 tutors, supplemental instruction leaders and directors of tutoring centers from 26 colleges and universities at the Delta College Planetarium on Oct. 24.

SVSU was one of nine schools to engage participants in informative workshops. Elaine Hunyadi, coordinator of the Center for Academic Achievement; Randy Baruth, head basketball coach; five Center for Academic Achievement tutors and five SVSU student-athletes shared information about their collaborative efforts over the past two years to help student-athletes succeed.

After seeing great progress in his players that had used the tutoring service, Baruth decided to have his entire team partake in tutor-supported study sessions at the center twice a week for four hours. The Center for Academic Achievement works with members of three other teams: men’s football, women’s tennis and softball.

Hunyadi particularly enjoys working with student-athletes. “I’m interested in working with athletes because they have the characteristics of success,” she said. “They understand practice; they understand that, even if you practice really hard, sometimes you don’t win the game. They understand perseverance; they … have an acceptance of failure. They also have an understanding of a relationship with a mentor and how that can help. “We’re just trying to transfer their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that they already display on the court into their academics.”

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

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